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20 Feb, 2024 02:40

EU demands ‘international investigation’ into Navalny’s death

The European Union is “outraged” by the opposition activist’s demise, the bloc’s top diplomat said
EU demands ‘international investigation’ into Navalny’s death

Russia must allow an international investigation into the death of opposition activist and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell has said.

Navalny died unexpectedly on Friday in a Russian prison, where he was serving a lengthy sentence stemming from several criminal convictions.

“Russia must allow an independent and transparent international investigation into [the] circumstances of his sudden death,” Borrell said in a statement on Monday.

He added that the EU “will spare no efforts to hold Russia’s political leadership and authorities to account,” and threatened to impose more sanctions on Moscow. He reiterated that the bloc was “outraged” by Navalny’s death.

Asked to comment on the statement by the EU foreign-policy chief, Kremlin press-secretary Dmitry Peskov said “we don’t accept such demands at all, especially coming from Mr Borrell.”

According to the Russian authorities, Navalny suddenly “felt ill” and collapsed on Friday. Efforts to resuscitate the 47-year-old apparently failed and he was pronounced dead the same day. The exact cause of death remains unclear, although a source for RT Russian suggested that it was a blood clot. An investigation has since been launched. 

Navalny was put behind bars in 2021 for violating the terms of his suspended sentence for fraud. Two years later, he was sentenced to 19 years in prison for “extremist activities.” 

The activist denied any wrongdoing and insisted that all cases against him were politically motivated. Navalny also alleged that the prison conditions were tantamount to “torture.”

Multiple Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have said that Russian President Vladimir Putin the Russian government are ultimately “responsible” for Navalny’s death.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted the West for “cynically” rushing to blame the Russian authorities instead of waiting until forensic reports are made public.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that it was “completely unacceptable” for Western politicians to make “outrageous statements” regarding Navalny when the investigation into his death is still ongoing.